A virtual phone number can forward incoming calls to your personal mobile phone or internet-enabled device and make outbound calls from those devices appear as if they’re originating from the same number. They differ from virtual phone services in that they generally offer a more limited set of features for a lower price. If your business needs a more full-featured VoIP phone service, check out our recommendations here.
We looked at the most popular options and chose to review Grasshopper, Google Voice, and Phone.com because they represented a range of standard features and price. Read on for our comparison and review of these three options, as well as our top recommendations.
Best Virtual Phone Number Provider for Small Businesses in 2017: Grasshopper
We recommend Grasshopper as the Best Virtual Phone Number for Small Businesses in 2017 because it balances a low-cost solution with the features and customer service that a small business will need.
Virtual Phone Number Provider Comparison Table: Grasshopper vs Google Voice vs Phone.com
|Best For||When a more full-featured option, including fax service, is needed||Small businesses who want a free service are willing to forego some features and customer support||Small businesses that make a lot of long distance calls to Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, and/or the UK.|
|Ease of Setup and Use|
|Voicemail transcription Faxes emailed as PDFs Custom greeting Auto-attendant||Voicemail transcription Share voicemails by email SMS to email Call screening Conference calling||Share voicemails by email Call routing Call forwarding CRM integration Caller analytics from $2/month Voicemail transcription for $1.50/month|
|iOs and Android||iOS, Android, and Blackberry||iOS and Android|
|Online knowledge base, 24/7 phone support, and ticket requests||Online knowledge base and forums||Support available by phone, online chat, or email 365 days/year Also available in Spanish from 8am to 6pm PST, Monday to Friday|
Paid monthly with no contract
|$4.99/month per phone number
Base plans from,
Additional international calling rates from $0.01/minute
|Free Trial||No, but 30 day money back guarantee||Service is free||Yes, 30 days or 100 minutes|
Best Virtual Phone Number Provider for Small Businesses: Grasshopper
Grasshopper strikes the right balance between a low-cost VoIP virtual phone number solution and the features and support that solo entrepreneurs and small businesses will need. It gives users the ability to present a main business line to their customers or to set up a phone number in a different area code from where they’re based.
Calls are then made and received on the customer’s personal mobile phone, although they appear to come from and to the virtual number. Inbound calls are sent directly to your designated personal phone and outbound calls can appear to originate from your business number by dialing out from within the Grasshopper mobile app.
This service can serve two useful purposes for small businesses:
- Create a main business phone number to give to your customers without the need for a full phone service; or,
- Create a phone number in the city you do most of your business in, even if you live elsewhere, to reduce your long distance costs.
If you need a quick and economical solution to make your business sound more professional, then Grasshopper’s virtual phone service will provide you with one. Setup is easy, and in minutes you can begin to send and receive calls to and from your mobile device that appear to come from and to your main business phone number. You also get key business VoIP features like voicemail-to-email, call transfers, and fax service for a minimal cost.
Most importantly, though, Grasshopper offers customer service that Google Voice does not, such as phone or ticket-based support. This may be less important to someone whose primary consideration is cost, but most small business owners won’t have the time or resources to troubleshoot any issues that may arise — and resolve any downtime that directly affects their bottom line.
Best Free Virtual Phone Number Provider: Google Voice
With Google Voice, businesses can secure a single unique phone number or port over an existing one for $20 that can then be used from any mobile phone or internet-enabled device. And best of all, Google Voice is free for anyone to use.
Inbound and outbound calls made to and from your mobile device will use your voice plan’s minutes. However, inbound and outbound calls made to and from your computer will use your internet connection. In this way, Google Voice is not a conventional VoIP service.
Calls and texts within North America are free and international rates start at $0.01/minute. This makes Google Voice an easy way to minimize your business’ phone costs and untether yourself from multiple numbers for multiple devices. However, as with anything else, Google Voice does have its downsides that you should consider before relying on the service for your primary phone needs.
The most significant of these downsides is the lack of customer support. Google does offer community forums for users to help troubleshoot and resolve any issues, but there is no individual support available like there is with Grasshopper and Phone.com.
Another downside of Google Voice that small businesses should consider is the complications in porting over their existing phone number. The process is relatively straightforward if you’re porting over the phone number from your mobile phone, albeit with a $20 cost; however, Google Voice doesn’t currently allow you to port over a landline or VoIP phone number. If your business already has a phone number from a landline or VoIP service in market, this can present a significant problem.
Another Virtual Phone Number Provider: Phone.com
While we did like that Phone.com includes long distance calls to Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, and the UK as well as offering customer service options in Spanish as well as English, these weren’t enough for us to recommend them over Grasshopper or Google Voice.
However, Phone.com offers more of an à la carte package where some of the features that come standard with Grasshopper incur an additional charge
Grasshopper offers a more versatile and feature-rich option for a comparable price point and Google Voice is much cheaper if you’re willing to sacrifice features to save cost. So even though Phone.com does offer a solid service for the price, it wasn’t strong enough on the standard features to overtake Grasshopper or cheap enough to be more attractive than Google Voice.
In-Depth Review: Grasshopper vs Google Voice vs Phone.com
Ease of Setup/Use
All of the VoIP virtual phone number services we reviewed are easy to setup and use. With minimal variations between services, the steps to get your VoIP virtual phone service up and running follow these general steps:
- Sign up and create your account
- Sign up for a new phone number or port over an existing phone number
- Enter the personal phone number that calls you receive should be forwarded to
Additional features, such as custom greetings or CRM integrations, may require additional configuration, but the basics are very straight-forward and will have your service ready to make and receive calls within minutes.
Because Grasshopper, Google Voice, and Phone.com are all cloud-based, there’s no hardware or software to purchase or install; the entire system is administered through your web browser or mobile app.
Grasshopper, Google Voice, and Phone.com offer many of the same standard call management features that will help you in your day-to-day business, such as:
- Web and app-based account management
- Call blocking
- Call forwarding
- Call screening
- Custom call greetings
- Conference calling
Where the providers differ is in whether or not they offer more advanced features that differentiate their service from the others.
For the small business owner who doesn’t have the time or the resources to dedicate to setting up, managing, or troubleshooting their virtual phone number service, it just has to work. And for those times that it doesn’t, they need quick and easy access to a solution.
Grasshopper, Google Voice, and Phone.com all offer online knowledge bases for the more self-sufficient user, but only Grasshopper and Phone.com also offer individual customer support — one of the key differentiators of the services, and likely how Google Voice is able to offer theirs for no cost.
Other Virtual Phone Number Options
There are many other virtual phone number provider options on the market that may be a better fit for your business’ needs. Here are some of the others that we liked and what makes them unique:
|Provider Name||What Makes It Unique?|
|Grasshopper||Our recommendation for the best combination of features and price|
|Google Voice||Almost completely free to use|
|Phone.com||Some countries included in long distance and option of Spanish customer service|
|Kall8||Toll-free numbers starting from $2/month plus usage|
|Twilio||Local numbers in 50+ countries plus a developer-friendly open API for integrations|
The Bottom Line
We recommend Grasshopper as the Best VoIP Virtual Phone Number for Small Businesses in 2017 because it offers the best balance between standard features, customer service, and cost.
Google Voice is an excellent alternative for small businesses that are working with minimal budgets. It is almost completely free to use, but because of this they don’t offer any personal customer service. This is enough to prevent us from recommending them as the best solution for most small businesses.
Phone.com also offers many features that would be useful to a small business, but theirs is more of an à la carte package where some of the features that come standard with other services incur an additional charge. They also offered the best customer support of the services we reviewed, but this wasn’t enough for us to recommend them above Grasshopper when all of the other factors were taken into consideration.